A new poll by CNN finds that, in the aftermath of the two Democratic debates, Kamala Harris has gained more support, and Joe Biden has lost more, than was indicated by the Rasmussen/HarrisX poll I discussed earlier today. According to CNN, Biden now has the backing of 22 percent of Democrats, down from 32 percent a month ago at this time.
Harris, meanwhile, is at 17 percent. A month ago, her number was 8 percent.
Next in the brand new CNN poll come Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. They are at 15 and 14 percent, respectively.
Pete Buttigieg is way down the ladder at 4 percent. Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke are right behind him at 3 percent.
A few thoughts. First, 22 percent is a poor showing for Biden, considering his sky-high name recognition and close connection to Barack Obama. If the poll is accurate, one can argue that Biden is a paper tiger — this season’s Jeb Bush. That, at least, is how he may seem to his main rivals.
Second, the Rasmussen/HarrisX poll paints a less gloomy picture for Biden. However, I think CNN’s survey may better reflect the current state of the race. It was taken later than Rasmussen’s, after Biden’s poor performance on stage had a chance to sink in and reverberate.
Third, Biden is being propped up by the support of Black Democrats, notwithstanding his lack of appreciation for busing little kids. 36 percent of Blacks in the survey picked Biden as their candidate. Harris was second with 24 percent. Black voters are loyal to a fault.
Finally, this was just one set of debates. Biden could undo the damage resulting from this round with a strong performance next time.
However, while he’s surely capable of doing better than he did last week, it’s reasonable to wonder whether Biden has a truly strong performance in him at this stage of his career. Serviceable may be the best he can hope for, and that might not be good enough.